Shahina K.K, journalist, Tehelka has been facing harassment and intimidation from the Karnataka Police for last few weeks. A case has been registered against her at the Somawarpet Police Station (No. 199/10) and Siddhapura Police Station (No. 241/10) under Section 506 for allegedly intimidating witnesses
Tehelka had carried in a recent issue Shahina’s report based on interviews with two witnesses in the 2008 Bengaluru blast case. The report titled ‘Why is this man still in prison? ‘has raised questions over the police investigation and the arrest of People’s Democratic Party chairman Abdul Nasar Mahdani in the blast case.
Intimidation of Shahina started as soon as she reached Igoor in Karnataka’s Hassan District.Here is an excerpt from her report.
Soon 2 cases were registered against the journalist.
There has been wide spread condemnation from Journalists Associations and Civil Rights activists against this move of Karnataka Police to harass journalists.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has strongly condemned the criminal proceedings launched against Tehelka reporter K.K. Shahina by the Karnataka police
“The IFJ is shocked that this fine example of investigative journalism has become the grounds for criminal prosecution of a reporter, on charges of pressuring and intimidating witnesses”, IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
The Network of Women in Media, India,
This, we feel, is a clear case of infringement of journalistic freedom by the Karnataka police. Howsoever serious a case might be, the media has always had the freedom in this country to meet witnesses and even the prime accused to hear their versions and place them before society. It is this freedom, among many others, that has given our democracy the vibrancy that it has today. By registering a case for criminal intimidation against a journalist, the Karnataka police has cut at the very root of democratic and media freedoms in our country
Senior Journalists from Kerala
The case is not against her as an individual but it is a warning to the entire press community, women and minorities. We strongly condemn the attitude of the police to frame false charges on a reputed journalist in a nationally reputed magazine. We are aware that if the police can go to that extent, what the status of ordinary members of the minority community could be. We also condemn the tradition of some of the members of the press to repeat the false information of the police, which has very deep communal implications. We are shocked at the growing human rights violations in the name of tackling terrorism. Above all, the problems faced by Shahina is also a grave threat to freedom of expression and the incidents also warn us about the fascistic designs of the Sangh Parivar controlled Karnataka Government
Civil Rights Groups
It seems the case against Madani is flimsy and Police is aware of that. That may be the reason for the need for intimidating the journalist who is fearlessly exposing the flimsiness of the case.
Let us hope that all this adverse publicity generated by this incident will prevent further Police intimidation of the media.